Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottler: Distiller
ABV: 64%
Score: 94 points

Octomore 6.3 Islay Barley Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Image courtesy Bruichladdich. There are many superlatives that could describe this single malt from Islay. It’s the most heavily-peated whisky on record, with a phenol count of 258 parts per million. It’s also the first Octomore to be distilled exclusively from Islay barley, grown on the Octomore farm, no less. At 64% ABV, it’s also so strong that Islay’s airport security will not allow passengers to carry it in checked luggage for safety reasons (the airport has a maximum ABV level of 60%).

Dismiss it as the ultimate peat monster, though, and you’d be jumping to a conclusion. The nose has floral notes nestled within the hard, pungent peatiness tempered by heather, sea breeze, coffee beans, and a touch of ashiness. The taste is hot, peaty, and pungent with black pepper, chili powder, ashy charcoal and peat, along with a touch of iodine…but as the pungent notes start to mellow, dark chocolate, honey, plums, and a touch of oak come out. The finish is mouth-watering and still warming with a lingering smokiness, dark chocolate, touches of grilled peaches and pears, vanilla, and oak. This whisky is a classic! (March, 2015)